The stay-at-home and safer-at-home orders that were put into place to protect community health during the COVID-19 pandemic left many people feeling frustrated, isolated and anxious. For people with a disability those feelings are nothing new. Stairs, curbs and doorframes can make even leaving the house a monumental task with a mobility assistance device like a wheelchair or walker. An ADA compliant ramp can greatly enhance the safety and ability of an individual living with a physical disability and allow him or her to move about more freely; however, the average cost to build a ramp is greater than $3,500. Recognizing the burden this cost places on families who may be struggling with medical bills and lost income, the HBF created Blitz Build ten years ago.
Blitz Build is an annual three-day event where teams of volunteers led by experienced project managers build multiple home ramps, free of charge to clients. Since 2011, 190 ramps have been built and installed all across the Denver metro area as part of the campaign. Chris Layne, RN, Ms. Wheelchair Colorado 2020, is very thankful for the ramp built onto her home during the 2017 Blitz Build. Since 2011, hundreds of volunteers, builders and tradespeople have built nearly 200 ramps valued at $800,000 as part of the annual three-day event.
“In addition to the modification the Home Builders Foundation made inside my home, the ramp allows me to enjoy my backyard and provides the security of an emergency exit,” said Layne.
Just this last weekend Blitz Build, which is presented by Fiberon, celebrated its 10th anniversary and built 15 ramps for 12 different clients with the help of more than 100 volunteers and supporters. Adam McCartie is the Regional Product Manager for OrePact Building Products, a distributor of Fiberon that supported this event. He was a Project Captain for his company’s ramp build and shared
“Thanks to all that were able to participate in this great event. Our client, Marianne came out to use the ramp and exploded into tears of joy and appreciation!! That’s really when it comes full circle and the hard work really pays off!”
HBF took extra precautions and limiting the volunteer group sizes in order to prevent the spread of COVID-19. “We had to scale back from the amount of ramps we typically install during a 3-day Blitz Build,” according to Beth Forbes, executive director of HBF, “but we didn’t want to forgo the event itself as it is such a great way to enhance independence and safety for these families.” Blitz Build is also a great way for volunteers to get involved and the slots filled quickly once the 2020 event was announced.
The clients who will received ramps as part of this year’s Blitz Build range in age from 12- to 82-years-old and are living with conditions like severe arthritis, osteoporosis, Parkinson’s or partial paralysis as the result of an injury. Each has the desire to access and leave their own homes safely and independently, so they can elevate their lives and thrive in the community. Build took place in Aurora, Castle Rock, Denver, Federal Heights, Littleton, Thornton and Westminster. Sponsors and material donations will cover the $50,000 value of the ramps and event costs. There is also a fundraising component to Blitz Build that provides additional funding to allow the HBF to complete future accessible home modifications for deserving clients.
See below for 2020 Blitz Build News Coverage: